Johann Christoph Friedrich Guts-Muths


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Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778—1852)


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A German founder of a system of gymnastics that was introduced into schools in Germany in the 19th century. Guts-Muths wrote several books and manuals outlining his system of gymnastics and exercise and targeting youth and young people (Gymnastics for Youth, 1793); he also studied theology and geography. His influence, combined with that of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, created a long-lasting nationalistic ethos of physical training within the German tradition. His belief in the power of exercise was as much a philosophy as a science, and his teachings constitute an influential European strand in a kind of secular theology of body culture. See also Turnen.

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